Ken Rumble

from Key Bridge
New Poems From the USA



Why do you think you and other African American tenors have had a hard time breaking into the opera world?
Because the tenors get the girl.

monochrome, monoculture, mononucleosis, monotone, mano y mano y no hermana o hermano

Ahh, my city, today I missed you –
where I would've gone?
you're a nest to me, always next to me,
a palm, a mind, a diamond – I'd walk
the streets I drive the desk down
like in the movie I don't remember the name of.
Even your rats tumbling over each other along
the footpath along
the Potomac a long

Don’t be delicate.
Use a whip,
a note, a rhythm, or not



The page turning girl
turning pages –
does she lick her finger before
each page?
Does she love the pianist?
the cellist? the violero?
Conquered by the music
she turns and is not
conquered –
she reads and turns and is
not conquered –
the page turning girl
the greater creator:
pale in black: the silent
motivator, motor,
wheel, piston, and cam shaft,
but love?
The page turning girl loves
the future
with a tasteful part
and pearls.
She's present to need
there is no one
desire, solely need,
the creative art of reading
and love? We all
love the page turning girl.


We travel for several days.
We roll on past transport lines.
The light railway picks us up.
No one knows exactly where it lies.
And so with my pack and rifle I set out again on the way.

                         (my thumb in the thin blue hour of her face

DC, Key Bridge, night
grey, blue, and black –
the piers sweeping from the river
an arch as an afterthought

Key Bridge, DC, night
the old bridge's abutments grin like faith –
Whitehurst Freeway peels off early to drop
into Georgetown's Foggy Bottom

Night, DC, Key Bridge,
Woodrow willed you
(a war birth
all those bridges we've loved before

Night, Key Bridge, DC
the right lane on Canal
a straight ride over
and away
into Roslyn

DC, night, Key Bridge
your namesake's home demolished,
demolitioned, and generally destroyed
for the bridge that buds from you

Key Bridge, night, DC
1,791 feet and 6 inches of red love,
50 feet wide with 8 foot walks of red love,
space that defines space
that at night crosses (deep space

           (the (l)one toothed vampire –